IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today it is bringing advanced data protection capabilities to the IBM FlashSystem family of all-flash arrays to help companies better plan for – and recover quickly from – ransomware and other cyberattacks.
Over the last year, cybercriminals have taken advantage of the increasingly distributed data landscapes and ramped-up the frequency of their attacks. Ransomware in particular, which is used to gain access to and then encrypt corporate data to block its access and/or expose it unless a ransom is paid, is on the rise. According to cybersecurity firm, SonicWall, ransomware attacks rose to 304.6 million1 in 2020, up 62% over 2019, mainly due to the highly distributed workforces caused by the pandemic. In fact, through May of 2021, the group reported 226.3 ransomware attacks already, up 116% year to date over 2020.2
To help companies fortify their enterprises and better protect their data, IBM announced IBM Safeguarded Copy for the IBM FlashSystem family of all-flash storage arrays. Safeguarded Copy automatically creates data copies in “immutable snapshots” that are securely isolated within the system and cannot be accessed or altered by unauthorized users. In the event of data loss, a data breach, malicious activity or any other event that compromises data or disrupts operations, customers can recover their data from the snapshots based on known points-in-time prior to the breach.
“Protecting against ransomware and other forms of malware requires a two-pronged approach to resiliency that involves automated protection and rapid recovery,” said Denis Kennelly, General Manager, IBM Storage. “That’s why we’re standardizing our modern data protection software, Safeguarded Copy, across our portfolio, bringing even more cyber resiliency to IBM FlashSystem. Cyberattacks are on the rise, but data can be protected and restored when you are prepared.”
“Staying ahead of today’s cyber threats is a top priority for us, especially as a local municipality,” said Benny Yazdanpanahi, CIO at The City of Tyler, Texas, and an IBM FlashSystem customer, who was briefed on the solution. “We’re responsible for everything from educational systems to critical public services, so protecting our data is critical. These days, continuous operations have as much to do with thwarting cyberattacks as it does data protection. Having the ability to create and restore immutable copies of data with SafeGuarded Copy is an exciting approach to continuous operations.”
How Safeguarded Copy Can Help Protect Your Data & Your Business
With Safeguarded Copy storage administrators can schedule the automatic creation of the logical point-in-time snapshots for scheduled intervals of their choice. Because the software separates the snapshots into distinct Safeguarded ‘pools’ on the storage system, they are immutable and inaccessible. Once in the pool, the data is only actionable after it has been recovered, eliminating the risk of data tampering or deletion.
Customers can also leverage Safeguarded Copy to extract and restore specific data from the backup snapshots to diagnose production issues. In addition, Safeguarded Copy can be used for regular validations of the copies to provide early detection of a problem and aid in the investigation of compromised data. And unlike some comparable snapshot solutions, IBM Safeguarded Copy enables customers to configure the systems and schedule backups themselves, rather than rely on the storage provider to log onto the customer’s system and set it up remotely.
In addition, IBM announced that Safeguarded Copy can now be integrated with IBM Security QRadar®. QRadar monitors activities and looks for signs that an attack may have begun, such as the attempted logging in of an unauthorized person. With today’s announcement, QRadar can now be used to proactively invoke Safeguarded Copy to automatically create a protected backup at the first sign of a threat.
Safeguarded Copy is based on the same proven technology within the IBM DS8000 family3 delivering security, cyber resiliency and recovery innovations across the entire IBM Storage portfolio. From encryption at rest and in motion, as well as data replication, to the physical “air gapping” available with IBM tape solutions, to the Write-Once-Read-Many (WORM) capabilities within the virtual tape libraries, IBM storage solutions provide customers many ways to protect their data and recover quickly in the event of a breach.
On-Prem Storage as a Service for Fast Access to Hybrid Clouds
IBM also announced plans to roll out this Fall the new IBM Storage as a Service offering which is designed to give customers a fast, new way to integrate hybrid cloud storage into any datacenter environment, eliminating the need for upfront capital expense of a system purchase.
As part of the company’s new Flexible Infrastructure family of pay-as-you-grow offerings, IBM Storage as a Service makes it simple for customers to choose the storage they need by determining the right performance, capacity, and service term that matches their workload and business needs. With one to five-year options, and no new contract penalty, customers pay a single rate based on TB/month at a fixed annual rate and the performance level of the system deployed. IBM handles the rest – from install and configuration to concierge level services and support – providing an experience that combines the control of an on-prem deployment with the ease of a cloud service.
Customers will be able to dynamically scale their storage capacity up or down as they need with variable pricing, only paying for what they use. And unlike some comparative services, IBM Storage as a Service’s base and variable pricing (when extra capacity is needed) are the same. In addition, customers are not penalized for having data that is not compressible.
“In our business, data generation is a constant and maintaining its integrity an imperative,” said Dave Anderson-Ward, server and storage technical team lead at Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s national mapping agency, who was briefed on the solution. “We’re always looking for the most efficient ways to securely store and manage these growing volumes. The new IBM Storage as a Service solution would be something to consider because it would give us the benefit of maintaining our data on-prem while paying for capacity, as we used it. In addition, with IBM maintaining the system, we could focus on the data.”
The solution will be easily extended to support hybrid cloud use cases with the monthly-priced Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud, which supports IBM Cloud and AWS, and with planned support for Microsoft Azure. IBM Storage-as-a-Service will also support hybrid cloud solutions deployed via cloud-adjacent architecture at Equinix.
Pricing for IBM Storage as a Service will be offered in three tiers that consider the level of system performance needed, capacity required, and the length of commitment. The service will start as low as $27/TB/month on effective basis4 and come with full concierge lifecycle services. In addition, customers will have the ability to take advantage of IBM’s optional 100% data availability guarantee.5 For each solution, IBM will provide about 50% of additional reserve capacity above customer base needs to be able to respond immediately for data growth. The reserve capacity will be billed at the same rate as the base capacity once it is utilized.
IBM plans to make IBM Storage as a Service available across North America and Europe in September. The company plans to extend the service to other regions around the world in the future. The service joins IBM’s existing as-a-Service offerings, including the IBM Storage Utility service and IBM Cloud Storage Services, all of which are designed to provide customers with the ability to access and integrate IBM innovation in the most effective manner possible, across any hybrid cloud environment.
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